Steel City Con: Ultimate Guide On Prep And What To Expect

When booking you will need to mention that you want the special rate for the convention room block and give them the designated code.

Steel City Con Ultimate Guide On Prep And What To Expect

Other great hotels that many attendees stay at as they’re nearby are:

  • Courtyard by Marriott in Monroeville
  • Residence Inn by Marriott in Pittsburgh
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Monroeville

Car Rental Nearby

There are plenty of car rental companies that you can use for the duration of your time at Steel City Con including:

  • Hertz
  • Alamo
  • Dollar Car Rental 
  • Avis

We’d recommend booking your rental car in advance as they do get booked up quickly when conventions are on.

Parking At The Event

There is free parking at the Monroeville Convention Center, however, spaces are limited so try to arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment. 

There is also a CVS building right next store to the convention center which attendees are permitted to park in any of the available spaces.

If you’ve booked a room at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton next door to Steel City Con then you’ll be allowed to park in their car park and then you can walk over to the center.

Public Transport To The Event

The bus lines that stop within walking distance of the Monroeville Convention Center where Steel City Con is held are the 67 and P78 lines. 

Pittsburgh International Airport is only 32 miles, so if you’re heading straight to the convention from your flight, you’ll be able to grab an Uber or Taxi from right outside the terminal. 

If you visit the Steel City Con official website, you can enter the location you’ll be traveling from and they’ll be able to give you directions to the convention center based on whether you’re walking, taking the bus, cycling, or driving there. 

You’ll be able to use Lyft or Uber for the duration of your time in Monroeville. However, if you’d like to support local taxi companies then we recommend using Yellow Cab, People’s Cab Co, or Eagles Taxi to get you around.

Steel City Con is one of the largest comic con events across the U.S, boasting over 100,000 square feet of convention space, over 700 vendors, and tons of things to do including celebrity meet and greets, panels, and art exhibitions.

The Steel City Con is the only comic of the Monroeville Convention Center located 10 miles out of Pittsburgh and is a great one to go to if you live on the East Coast or you’re traveling there any time soon.

So if you’re hoping to attend Steel City Con but have no idea how to go about it, this ultimate guide will show you how to prepare for the convention and what to expect when you get there. 

Buying Your Ticket/Badge

To guarantee admission to Steel City Con, you’ll need to buy a ticket and we recommend doing so in advance to save yourself waiting in the long cash or credit card lines outside the convention center on the day.

You can buy a single-day pass for either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday which will cost $23 to $35 (Saturday is the most expensive) day or you can receive a big discount if you opt for the 3-day pass and only pay $50. 

Those who buy 3-day pass holders will get to enter the convention at 9.30 am instead of at 10 am (like everyone else) on all 3 days of the show.

Children get to enter Steel City Con completely free when accompanying a paid adult admission, however, this policy is limited to only 2 children per one adult ticket. 

You can also choose one of the VIP Bundle deals that Steel City Con has to offer where you’ll have a 3-day pass to the convention, an exclusive VIP entrance so you won’t have to wait in the lines, and autograph and photo opportunities included in the package price. 

These VIP bundles are around $300 and not completely necessary for making the most of your time at Steel City Con, however, it would make a generous gift to someone who loves attending comic conventions like these.

The convention runs a barcode scan ticketing entry system which saves visitors the hassle of having to print out tickets or wait for them to be received in the post.

However, you’ll need to make sure you have your tickets downloaded to your phone from your emails or that you have enough mobile service to connect to your emails to scan them at the gate when entering.

What To Bring To Steel City Con

What To Bring To Steel City Con

You and your downloaded ticket obviously! Make sure you have it downloaded ready on your phone before you travel to the event, you might not be able to connect to WiFi outside the center and if you don’t have mobile service then you won’t be able to load up your ticket.

Bringing a backpack to Steel City Con is highly recommended as you’ll want somewhere to store all your essentials like a phone, wallet, water bottle, and snacks.

You’ll also be able to put any merchandise or collectives that you buy within the convention in there instead of carrying them around in your arms.

Bring both cash and card with you to the convention as some stalls may only accept cash as they won’t want to incur the credit card fees.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your ID is in your wallet, just in case you choose to buy some cool costume weapons inside at one of the vendors.

Make sure to bring along a camera to take pictures throughout the event and also if you spot any celebrities walking around.

As well as a camera you’ll want to bring a large enough SD Card so you won’t run out of space and have to end up deleting some of your snaps.

If you’ve paid for a photo opportunity with a guest then a professional photographer will take the photo and you’ll have a digital download or a printed copy to take home with you. 

However, if you’re lucky enough you may be able to get a selfie with a guest when you’re getting their autograph at the signing table.

If you don’t have a camera and take all of your pictures on your phone, then bring along a portable battery charger so you’ll be able to take as many photos as you like whilst also being able to use the internet and update your friends on Instagram without your phone battery dying. 

If you’ve got some autograph sessions booked in for your favorite celebrities, then don’t forget to bring along your notebook or anything else you want to be signed along with a good pen like a sharpie.

You’ll be able to buy stationery at the convention but you’ll be paying over-the-top prices just for something you have at home. 

What To Wear To Steel City Con

You can choose to wear costumes or civilian clothing to Steel City Con – whatever you feel most comfortable in is best. 

Jeans and a t-shirt are more than sufficient if you’re taking the more low-key approach, although we do recommend bringing a light sweater as it can get cold due to the AC in the convention center. 

Comfortable footwear is a must at Steel City Con, with so much to see and do you’ll spend endless hours walking around browsing and rushing to your next Q&A session so having footwear that won’t rub or hurt your feet is a no brainer. 

The Steel City Con hosts a costume contest on Sunday for 3 different age categories where there is $3,000 in cash and prizes to give away to the winners, so if there wasn’t already an incentive to dress up, then there is now. 

If you are going to dress up for the convention, please be aware that Steel City Con has strict regulations on costume weaponry and how you use it in the center. Read from the list below to find out some of the regulations.

  • No functioning weapons are allowed in the center
  • Simulated and costume weapons must conform to state and federal law (so check prior if you’re traveling into the state)
  • Projectile weapons like nerf guns must be unloaded and disabled
  • Costume swords must be tied into the costume so they cannot be drawn
  • Steel weapons will not be allowed into the venue
  • Pointing or aiming a weapon at another attendee is not allowed
  • The convention has the right to remove anyone from the venue who does not follow these rules

If you’re going to all 3 days of the Steel City Convention and you plan to wear a costume, we recommend bringing more than one with you just in case you get too sweaty and can’t wear it the next day, or you happen to spill something down it. 

Easy Steel City Con Costumes

If you don’t have time to go out and buy a costume or spend endless hours creating one from scratch then this doesn’t mean you don’t have to dress up at all.

Below are some easy Steel City Con costumes that you can make using regular clothing in your closet, some cheap face paints, and possibly some arts and crafts. 

The Mystery Gang (Scooby-Doo)


The Sims Characters


The Joker


Family Guy

Lois Griffin form Family Guy

The Flintstones

Hey Arnold

Can You Go To Steel City Con Without A Costume?

Most definitely, Steel City Con can appreciate that costumes aren’t for everyone, so attendees are welcome to dress in regular clothing and admire other people’s costumes instead.

What To Do When Nobody Gets Your Cosplay

Who cares? If anyone asks what it is just explain, chances are you’ll come across people’s cosplay that you don’t get. 

Guide To Steel City Con Lines And Crowds

Planning your day thoroughly and getting in lines early will prevent you from having to wait in line for hours and missing a huge chunk of your day.

There will still be big lines for popular guests, but being on top of your schedule will allow you to make the most of your day.

Getting Your Comics Signed

You’ll be able to get your comics or any other kind of collectible signed by the guests at the convention, however, you’ll need to buy a ticket for an autograph session beforehand.

The most famous celebrities at the convention can charge up to $300 for an autograph, however, most will be around the $30-$40 mark. 

You may be lucky enough to spot a celebrity walking around the venue in their free time of which you could ask them for an autograph then, although many will decline as these are opportunities that you pay extra for at a guest area. 

How Much Money Do You Need?

How much money do you need? Well, how much are you going to buy? 

If you’re planning on just attending the convention and not buying any merch, collectibles, or art inside then you’ll just need to bring about $40 to eat and drink throughout the day at the food vendors. 

There is a TGI Friday’s and an Olive Garden just up the street from the convention center so if you’d rather have a quiet meal away from the crowds then head there for a break, however, these costs may be higher than you would find inside the convention center. 

If you plan to do as many photo ops with the celebs as possible, then you could easily spend over $1,000 on just this, so we’d recommend trying to narrow your favorites so you don’t regret looking at your bank balance once the weekend is over.

Going to your first comic con event can be so exciting and you end up buying a lot of stuff, so if this is you, try to set a realistic budget for each day you are going.

$200 is a sufficient amount to get some cool collectibles at the vendor stands each day but without going overboard.

You can still get some great freebies at Steel City Con, just walking around and speaking to vendors and visiting stalls, you’ll find people are more than happy to give you a poster or a baseball cap.

Just try not to pick up everything you come across otherwise you’ll have to carry it around all day. 

For the cost of a 3-day pass, a couple of photo-ops with your favorite celebs, food, drink, and collectibles, you could estimate a budget of around $500 for the weekend, but that is excluding transport and accommodation if you’re not from the area. 

Don’t Forget To Bargain

Most newbies to comic con events don’t realize that they can bargain with the vendor to get comic or fiction weapons for a lower price than what the label says, so make sure to fight your case to get a better deal.

If the label says $100 for an item, but you’re only willing to pay $60, ask the vendor kindly if they would accept $50 and see where you go from there.

Always offer less than what you are willing to pay to start with and then you can begin to higher to what you are willing to pay if the vendor won’t accept the lower offer.

Sometimes paying over the top for something you could find cheaper online is not worth it, so know when to walk away from a deal. 

Doing some research behind the price of certain items you are keen on buying will help you know when you are getting a good deal or not. 

Other Tips For Steel City Con-goers

Be sure to know what you’re in line for before wasting time waiting in line for something completely different.

Respect everyone else’s space and also make sure you don’t block aisles and don’t sit in non-designated areas. There will be large crowds so everyone should put in the effort to keep pathways clear. 

Audio or video recording is not permitted during panels or live Q&A sessions and the organizers encourage people to turn off their tablet, laptop, or phone screens otherwise security might speak to you and remove you from the room at their discretion if they believe you intend to record. 

Smoking and vaping are prohibited within 20 feet of an entrance, window, or doorway of the venue in line with Monroeville regulations. So if you do need to smoke or vape you’ll need to take a short walk away from the convention center to do so. 

Hotels NearbyThe official Steel City Con hotel is the Doubletree by Hilton as it is right next door to the convention center.

They offer special rates for attendees of the convention so book as far in advance as you can as this is the most popular choice in the area.